Tuesday 4 February 2020

Boris the Dealmaker

Can I strongly recommend watching Boris' Greenwich speech?  For a politician, it's truly excellent: he really does have the makings of a statesman  That's the way to give clarity of purpose to your negotiators: it immeasurably strengthens their hand.  Many have bemoaned the UK team's lame performances under Cameron (his pre-referendum "Deal") and then May, in the face of perfectly ordinary Euro-wallah opponents - who were competent, but no more.  Shamefully, that has been quite enough to wipe the floor with our side.

It would be a singularly inept negotiator who couldn't make serious headway under the Colours that Johnson has issued to the troops.  He's won half the battle for them already.  How?  He's trumped the Euros at their own game, by equiping our side with a knock-down "Logic".  Because "Logic" wins negotiations.  As an old negotiator, let me explain.

An army acquaintance of mine was about to leave the service after 25 years: he'd never known anything else.  He had an attractive skill-set, and found no difficulty in getting interviews for jobs he knew he could do.  But he was finding a problem: as a chap in middle life with loads of experience, he wasn't being considered for bog-standard entry-level jobs with a defined pay band: he was being asked to name what salary he wanted.  Formal negotiating wasn't something he knew anything about, so how the hell did he proceed, on this simplest of early challenges?

I told him to make a cost-list of everything he could think of that a respectable family man could reasonably expect to spend over a year maintaining a decent lifestyle - housing, transport, food, holidays, education, entertainment, insurance, etc etc.  Comprehensive: everything he could put a name to and stand by it without embarrassment if questioned in detail.  Add it all up, then add 10% plus rounding.  Then, when questioned, say calmly & firmly: I've totted it all up and I need £x.  Then stay silent, calmly awaiting a repsonse.

It worked for him.  It generally does.  Why?  Because it comes across as a "Logic":  (a) because it is indeed fairly based on a genuine logic, albeit one capable of being wrangled with by a particularly quarrelsome antagonist; and (b) because it's presented calmly and with finality - as if the presenter truly believes in its logic, and won't be shaken on it.  Any type of vagueness or flimsiness or randomness invites strong push-back.  But anything that seems to be believed ("seems" is all you need, though it really must seem!) as a matter of fact or logic, invites being accepted.  Even if the other side is inclined to say: well that's not right  -  they find it hard to press on that with ultimate conviction if, at the same time, they have to admit:  well, but he believes it, he's clearly not going to budge, whatever we think ...

It's only one of a hundred negotiating tactics; but the Euro-wallahs played this with great success on Mrs May.  This is sequence the negotiations must take, because of X and Y.  This is the bill the UK must pay, because of A and B.  This is why the Irish issue must be addressed first, because of the Good Friday Agreement.  Barnier played this card all day long, for months at a time.  And May was taken in by it, every time.

They were limbering up to play it all over again.  These are the rules you (obviously!) must accept, because you want access to our markets.  They've even got a standard embellishment, which they used last time and Barnier explicitly said they were going to use again: it's up to you (oh, it sounds so reasonable!  It's "Logic", after all ...)  - you decide what you want from us, and we'll tell you the price-tag: the more items you want, the longer you're going to have to be in talks, and the more of our rules you're (obviously) going to have to accept.

Boris has thwarted the whole trick with two simple observations:  our standards [environmental, workplace benefits etc etc - listen to the speech] are higher than yours (we set them higher because of our own superior policies); and we could demand you level up to us - but we're not going to; we'll just have mutual free trade, thank you.  It's simple: it's robust: the point has now been made publicly: everyone on our side can easily rehearse it all day long (and would have a helluva problem going home to explain any backsliding on such a straightforward point).

It can't be screwed up  -  can it?

Anyhow: Field Marshal Boris has magnificently played his part, conveying his battle orders with clarity and impeccable knock-down Logic.  Let battle commence.



Mary Susan Scottish said...

How can you tell if he is a good deal maker?

Nick Drew said...

Results are all, Mary, so all judgement suspended until December

but starting out as adroitly as he has, there's scope for optimism

(another good sign: in the Greenwich speech he referred to having the best lawyers in London on the job, "top-dollar too, no doubt", and that if they aren't good enough, we'll get some more. This, too, is exactly right: London is replete with the best lawyers and negotiators - my recommendation on these pages back in 2016 was to hire a top negotiator from e.g. BP, with a billion-pound budget for legals etc)

david morris said...

So what you're saying is, ND, that both Cam & May were never serious about Leaving the EU ? .....colour me shocked.

Nick Drew said...

Cam, yes and clearly so: though I do believe he wanted a better "deal" than the one he got (and never felt able to mention again). That was a real failure, in circumstances where success could have been absolutely pivotal. (There might have been a Deal at that stage which would have had even me voting to remain)

May was surely just an utter, and deeply naive, incompetent

and she genuinely wanted to win the 2017 GE, too! She was trying (very trying)

Jan said...

The other thing he said was that we would be negotiating as two sovereign entities and so there was no need for us to keep to EU rules regarding the law/trade etc which ties in with your point about logic.

I agree I think Boris is better than he lets on and may turn out to surprise us all.

AndrewZ said...

Negotiating tactics aren’t important because the zone of possible agreement is so small.

The EU has made clear that it won’t compromise the integrity of the Single Market because it genuinely can’t risk doing that. The Single Market eliminates regulatory barriers to trade by standardising regulations across Europe, but this requires enforcement mechanisms to ensure that the standards are being upheld. If the EU gives Britain selective access to the Single Market without any such mechanism, which in practice means the ECJ, then it would be reliant on the good will of a non-member to control what was crossing its borders. Obviously, it can’t accept that.

What’s more, if the EU gives one of its trading partners a special deal then WTO non-discrimination rules require it to offer the same level of access to all the others. Some nations have clauses in their trade agreements with the EU to make this principle enforceable. Others, like the United States and China, would simply demand it. Then the remaining members of the EU would demand even more flexible arrangements. The EU would have to restructure all its internal and external trading relationships for the benefit of a non-member. Obviously, it can’t accept that either.

But the UK government wants to diverge from EU standards and won’t accept any role for the ECJ. It is also committed to finishing negotiations this year. That rules out a “Canada-style” deal because CETA runs to 1,598 pages and took years to negotiate. Less than one year is nowhere near enough time to agree anything that complex.

So, the only agreement that fits within these constraints is an absolutely minimal deal that covers tariffs and not much else, and which leaves out everything difficult or controversial. Prepare for a Nano-deal Brexit.

Anonymous said...

Let's hope ND is right.

Anonymous said...

AndrewZ - "if the EU gives one of its trading partners a special deal then WTO non-discrimination rules require it to offer the same level of access to all the others"

Excellent! We'll take the Canada deal then! After all, if you're right, they have to offer it to us!

Nick Drew said...

AZ - I might rather cruelly say: you've already swallowed EU logic whole!

Elby the Beserk said...

Great speech. Apart from the green nonsense. NetZero by 2035. Gas out. EVs mandatory. Which will collapse the economy. Utter drivel.

That's my vote up the Swannee.

Nobody to vote for whilst all are possessed by apocalyptic Green mania. As we head into a GSM as well.


Raedwald said...

I too plumped for the £1bn team budget back in 2016; we should have snapped up every top City lawyer and negotiator on refreshers and it's worth it for the potential gains. Cameron is a dilettante and May was just dire. There was a telling anecdote recently about their aides' preferred reading - Cummings had a stack of tomes from data scientists, future modellers, quantum mathematicians, cyber logicians and sky crawlers. Gavin Barwell plumped for a Jeffrey Archer novel.

God, it feels good to have people at the top who have real skin in the game. You're right Nick - sending our team into the negotiating table with the clear, cogent brief and inspiring backing that the PM gave at Greenwich cannot fail to pay dividends.

And our position rationale is not only logical but demonstrably reasonable - we can turn to the world with clean hands and ask "Isn't this what any Independent G7 nation would seek?"

Nick Drew said...

@ the £1bn team budget

Mr R, I was once involved in a very big commercial litigation: in our big strategy-team meeting right at the start, we set aside £1m for the legals (it was 20 years ago) - and we weren't disappointed (on either count)

the lesson stayed with me!

(BTW, when we appointed leading counsel and rather nervously asked him if £1m would be enough, he replied with the immortal words: "let's just say, this one is going to put my children through their education")

E-K said...

Let's hope he's more than up to it.

I'm concerned about his eco crap though. Economically and politically suicidal stuff.

He's listening more to Thunberg and XR than us.

Elby the Beserk said...

"E-K said...
Let's hope he's more than up to it.

I'm concerned about his eco crap though. Economically and politically suicidal stuff.

He's listening more to Thunberg and XR than us.

12:13 am"

Yup. Climate change is now a cult which our leaders have fallen for. That they are even prepared to talk to the likes of Extinction Rebellion, an extremist group who have made it quite clear (as if we didn't know - the UN made this clear years ago) that CC is not about the environment, it is a means to crash Capitalism. The greatest heist in history. And Boris has fallen for it.

Two articles from Paul Gosselin's excellent No Tricks Zone which make this abundantly clear


"Sina, aged 14, used to be active as a spokesperson for Fridays for Future in a city in the German state of North Rhine Westphalia.

But she quickly became disenchanted by the movement’s “cult-like” structures which did not tolerate questions. Recently she revealed her story. "



"German “Environmental Expert”/Activist Suggests Humans Need Draconian “Behavior Change”
By P Gosselin on 4. February 2020

Share this...
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Today I found an interview with an “environmental expert” by the German alarmist site Klimareporter here. It conveys to us the real aims of the radical climate movement. In a nutshell: To change, limit and dominantly control human behavior.

In the Kilmareporter interview, Prof. Rainer Griesshammer says that changing light bulbs, riding your bicycle and eating organic aren’t going to cut it when it comes to rescuing the climate.

In the interview, Klimareporter brings up Mr. Griesshammer’s recent book in which he calls for “changing politics and life” in order to combat climate change.

Politics, Griesshammer says, will “not be enough on its own” and that “changes in several areas of society – in the value system, consumer behavior, the legal framework and the market, as well as in infrastructure and technology development” are required."

What is clear is that it is not just the economy which is their target. It is democracy. If you think I am talking bollocks, then spend some time looking at the UN's Agenda 21, which is already being implemented - without consultation - all over the UK (implementation was responsible for the flooding of the Levels a few years back, by the way). The ultimate intent of Agenda 21 (now renamed Agenda 30) is an assault on our choice of lifestyle. It's eventual aim - to herd us all into Megalopolises - and return "nature" to its pristine state is the stuff of Science Fiction Dystopias. It is an assault on national sovereignty (which of course s what the UN now is).

Don't say I didn't warn you.


"Agenda 21 is actually a blueprint for the 21st century; which under the cover of environmentalism and scaremongering CAGW, is in fact, just communism resurrected in a new guise. It is clear to see, that with the various political parties producing their election manifestos, the Green Party is actually the “Agenda 21 Global Communist Party”"

Nick Drew said...

Actually, chaps, as noted here before, there are several factions warring over control of (a) the "green flag" agenda, and of course (b) the world's pension funds, which are required to finance it

(and, BTW, it is the only game in town, so there's not a lot of future in railing about it - just try to ensure it goes the right way)

1. the NGOs running Greta, whose Grand Plan is a centralised body (run by themselves, naturally) that will licence all and any access to "global resources" - for a royalty-fee, naturally

2. the Hard Left, which is running a workerist "Just Transition" strategy (variously known as Green Industrial Revolution / Green New Deal), by which they mean nationalisation + lots of unionised jobs + new, errrr, coalmines in Cumbria ... the Labour 2019 manifesto has lots of stuff on this, and calling it 'green' is a bt of a stretch - but that's what they do

3. third-world countries, who are demanding "reparations" (and are naturally inclined to look to 1 & 2 above as allies in this cause)

4. the entire world's industry and banking, who look forward to an absolute bonanza of state-backed contracts for a staggering array of capital projects: one of those periodic war-profiteering opportunities that come around once in a generation

If it's done right, there's a lot of mileage in 4 (as well as a lot of absolute shysters making out like gangsters, as in any war-economy splurge): recall the GDP growth and technology advances for the USA 1941-45 (and tech advances in even the beleagured UK, in the same period).

I predict that fairly soon, geo-engineering will quietly come back onto the agenda too, despite massive, plaintive efforts from "hippy greens" (Monbiot) to stop it. But none of the 4 groupings above really has any fundamental objection to it - so long as they are in control

You can view the underpinning of this as irrational; but be in no doubt, it's happening and (IMHO) it's unstoppable. To walk out in front of the tanks in Tiananmen Square is a noble gesture, but ...

Raedwald said...

Spot on Mr Drew

The old aphorism is that when there's a gold mining rush on, the winner is the guy selling pickaxes. We can't stop the green rush, but it would be wise to ensure the UK is the pickaxe store.

Baron Barker said...

as well as a lot of absolute shysters

Did someone call?

Anonymous said...

As well as shit-shoveller Barker, I take it ND has in mind the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon?

Bill Quango MP said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill Quango MP said...

Radders was suggesting the UKs’s decision to embrace the greenest of hippy car targets, comes from the same driving force as our desire for self drive vehicles.

Most People don’t want either, right now.
But when they do, which is only just over the horizon, we in the uk will be world leaders.
And all that German car making will be overtaken by UK brands.

Elby the Beserk said...

Climate. One thing that the "authorities" (inc. St. Greta the Angry - who oddly never mentions that until China and India rein back CO2 emissions, everything we now do in the West is simply a matter of impoverishing us) do not mention is that we have entered a Grand Solar Minimum, and a number of climate institutions say this mean may some decades of cooling.

So when we get clobbered in 10 or 15 years by this madness, we may be in a colder climate. Already (not mentioned by the BBC, who only record "record" heat) we have hard record cold being reported all over the globe, in in bush fire Oz. The Maunder Minimum, which was the deepest part of the LIA, was a Grand Solar Minimum, a period during which solar activity fell to a minimum). How will the voter react when they find they are being taxed till they squeak because climate change. And can't afford to heat their houses at all.

Sure it was way back. But in the LIA, about one third of the pop of Northern Europe died of famine and pestilence.

Recommended reading

Geoffrey Parker : "Global Crisis : War, Climate Change & Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century".

Brian Fagan : "The Little Ice Age".

Climate is cyclical. The warm period at the end of the last century was cooler than any of the preceding Holocene Warm Periods (each cooler than the last - indeed, Greenland ice cores show cooling for some 7k years). Sooner or later reality will catch up with the climate fanatics; indeed, this GSM in in effect a real world experiment testing the CAGW "hypothesis" (for that is all it is. On that, see Feynman on how science works. And CAGW is not science, rather the ideology. As the UN have stated on a number of occasions.

Elby the Beserk said...

So when your EV runs out of juice in the middle of rural Somerset, you won't be able to grab the jerry can in the boot and walk to the nearest petrol station.

"Using lithium-ion batteries in electric automobiles the weight of the battery system necessary for traveling 100 km can exceed 150 kg. "


Anonymous said...

Elby @ 11.09.

I understand electric car batteries dont work too well in cold weather!!